Apple's Let's Talk iPhone event has finally arrived, and we'll probably get the unveiling of the highly anticipated iPhone 5 from company CEO Tim Cook and team.
The global buzz is unprecedented -- the release and speculation about iPhone 5 features and what carriers may be added, including Sprint, has been sliced and diced about every which way possible since January of this year. But now it's arrived, as the simple invitation from Apple went out last week.
Let's talk iPhone, it said. And journalists will converge on Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters to do just that.
Already, the iPhone is the world's bestselling smartphone, and this new model promises to widen that gap. We got a report late Monday that Sprint Nextel Corp., expected to finally join AT&T and Verizon as iPhone carriers, is making a multibillion-dollar gamble on the phone it hopes will turn its fortunes around.
Sprint has committed to buying at least whopping 30.5 million iPhones to sell to its customers, The Wall Street Journal reported, even though the company will likely lose money on the deal through 2014. But there's no doubt the demand is there -- even though after talking about it for months, nobody outside of Apple has legitimately reported seeing the iPhone 5.
Cook and company will of course bring much more to the event, likely including a new iPhone 4S, a lower-priced new model. But as all eyes await the iPhone 5 unveiling and release date, here are five features best bets for the product:
1) The iPhone 5 will have a larger screen size. We can count on this. Some competitive Android smartphones including the Droid Bionic have 4.3-inch touchscreens, while the iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch touchscreen. One problem has been sensitive and therefore clumsy key touches on the smaller screen for larger-fingered users.
The iPhone 5's larger screen is likely to extend beyond the body casing, meaning that the entire phone won't necessarily be bigger. The body will likely be smaller than the new, larger screen. Some reliable reports have suggested the screen will be qHD in 960x540 pixels -- likely with a 4-inch or 4.3-inch screen. The iPhone 4S will be the same size as the current iPhone 4, with a 3.5-inch screen.
2) The Internet connection will likely be three times faster. By implementing a hyper-speed HSPA+ 21 Mbps modem, the iPhone 5 will have nearly three times the download speed of the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4. The addition is intended to yield a 4G-like experience -- it's not true 4G, but it has 4G speed. It won't quite reach the 4G LTE speeds some want, but it will be a drastic leap forward in connection speed compared to the iPhone 4.
3) Metal casing likely to return for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4 body type was a departure from the iPhone 3G, made with a metal chassis. But the metal chassis will likely be back for the iPhone 5, along with other body features like a scratch-resistant touchscreen. The iPhone 4 has been a big winner for Apple, but the product's sturdiness -- it practically can't be used without a case -- has been an issue for some, and Apple wants to fix that problem.
4) A redesigned, more sensitive antenna. Recall that Consumer Reports did not recommend buying the Apple iPhone 4 after it was first unveiled in 2010. The consumer magazine said the product wasn't reliable because of antenna issues, particularly for left-handed users. Apple fixed the problem -- sort of -- and Consumer Reports then recommended the iPhone 4.
But frankly, the antenna has still has issues with the iPhone 4. With the iPhone 5, Apple has reportedly installed a redesigned, more sensitive antenna. Might not sound like much -- unless you've experienced too many dropped calls with the iPhone 4 that weren't the fault of the carrier. For most Apple users, this subtle change will yield a big difference.
5) The iPhone 5 will have Apple's new, patented voice control feature -- the Assistant. Apple's Siri-based Assistant will be an easy-to-use speech to text and action system, similar to functionality with Google's Android notification system. Apple has frankly trailed Google's Android in this area, and will be a long shot. With the iPhone 5, conversation, or voice, will become a tool through the artificially intelligent assistant for solutions and scheduling daily activities.